Final Exam, Spring 2013

General instructions: The final exam consists of three parts; the first part consists of a few short identifications of some of the key terms we’ve discussed in this class. The second part consists a required short essay, and the third part gives you a choice on which essay you wish to answer. The final exam will be due to me on Thursday, May 9 by 2:00 in the afternoon.  I will be in my office (Eastman Theater, 205) between 12:00 and 2:00 on that day; you can give me your exams then. You may also e-mail me your exam, and I will send you a confirmation e-mail. If you do not receive a confirmation e-mail you must assume that I have not received your exam. It is your responsibility to see to it that I get a copy of your exam.

I. Short identification (10 points each): for each of the following terms, write a 3-4 sentence identification.  Your purpose here is to identify the meaning of the term, explain its importance, and perhaps give an example that helps explain the term more fully.

  1. The Form of the Good (for Socrates)
  2. Justice (for Socrates)
  3. Why should imitative art be banned from the ideal city?
  4. In the Allegory of the Cave, who are the puppeteers and what do they symbolize?

II. Short essay (2-3 pages; 30 points). Answer the following question:

One of the arguments Socrates presents on behalf of the theory of the forms is that there can be no knowledge of particular and empirical objects. Describe and evaluate this argument.

III. Short essay (2-3 pages; 30 points). Answer ONE of the following questions:

  1. You are Meletus. Socrates’ supporters are taking you to task for bringing about the death of their hero. You need to defend your actions on some principled grounds. (You can, say, defend Athenian democracy against Socrates’ charges.) You may want to draw from the critiques raised in the “Clouds,” or from lectures, or construct your own. Make sure it is clear to your reader which Socratic position you are responding to.
  2. Tom and Jack are both working as waiters in a restaurant. Both are relatively poor and need all of the money they earn in order to live a relatively comfortable life.  Tom encourages Jack to cheat on his income taxes by refusing to report the income he gets from tips. “After all,” Tom says, “the tax code requiring the reporting of tips is just some rule that politicians passed in order to raise money to use for pork-barrel spending and corrupt government contracts. Besides, big corporations can use loopholes (or lobbying to change the tax code) to avoid paying taxes. And finally, just think how much you need this money, Jack. What good is being just in this case?” Drawing on the conception of justice Socrates develops in the Republic, develop a response to Tom’s arguments. How should we determine what Jack ought to do?
  3. In the Republic, Socrates insists that the guardians should not learn “dialectics” (which is the technical term for Socrates’s philosophical method of questioning received opinion) until they are older and have had extensive training in mathematics. And indeed, he argues that the vast majority of people should not study philosophy at all. How does this position relate to the one Socrates adopted in “The Apology”? In making this argument, does the Socrates in the Republic now acknowledge that the Socrates in “The Apology” was wrong to practice philosophy in public?
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